Singapore passed a law on Wednesday that can block people from recording or sending information – text, audio, photos or videos – from near sites of terror attacks. The law allows the police to block all electronic communications in the vicinity of such places if they believe the incident is “serious”, AFP reported.

Josephine Teo, the second minister for home affairs, told MPs the curb would be lifted when security operations are over at the scene of the incident. “Reporting is still allowed, just not live reporting,” she said. “We will allow selected media into the area for later coverage.”

Rights groups have said the law will curb media freedom. After the bill was introduced in Parliament in February, the Committee to Protect Journalists had said the legislation could “black out the news precisely when the public needs to be accurately informed”.

Civil society groups said the law defined “serious incident” very vaguely, and the authorities could use this to target peaceful protests.

The World Press Freedom Index ranks Singapore 151 out of 180 countries.